MIDI and the modern organ


MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and is often used in modern performance music to connect electronically controlled instruments.


It was first applied to mechachanical organs in the late 80's and is frequently added to historical instruments as the cost of cardboard music is becoming too expensive.


Many Dutch street organs now use MIDI to operate the playing mechanism. It doesn't affect the organ in any way, but eliminates the weight of the cardboard music and makes the changing of tunes an automatic process.


The tunes are arranged in the same way as the cardboard books, but using a computer to collate the notes. A MIDI file made in this way can also be used to make a cardboard book for a tradionally playing organ.


'Carianne' was designed to use MIDI from the outset, the owner being a prolific arranger of mechanical music for over 35 years. 'Carianne' has more than 400 tunes or medlies available, if this was in cardboard form it would weigh over a metric tonne, more than the organ itself.


'Carianne's sister organ, 'Distelvink' in Ohio USA, shares some of the music and this can be sent via the internet in seconds.